Physical therapy is a healthcare specialty that includes the evaluation, assessment, and treatment of individuals with pain and limitations in functional mobility of their spine and extremities. Physical therapy services are provided by physical therapists, who are licensed professionals. Physical therapists (or “PTs”, as they are commonly called) are required to have at least a Bachelor’s degree though more recently have finished a clinical doctorate degree from an accredited institution and must sit for a licensing exam to practice. They are trained to assess your condition and help you regain maximal functional mobility and independence. 

Physical therapists use a variety of treatment modalities and techniques to help you move better and feel better; treatment is very personalized. Choosing physical therapy has been shown to help you recover quickly and safely, and it can save you money due to decreased overall healthcare costs.

Do I Need Physical Therapy?

How do you know if you require the skilled services of a physical therapist? If you have an injury or illness that results in pain, physical impairment, or limited normal movement/loss of function, a physical therapist can help. Physical therapists treat people across the entire lifespan. Regardless of age, if you have impaired mobility, a physical therapy evaluation may be warranted to offer treatment and a strategy to improve function.

Some common problems that physical therapists evaluate and treat include but not limited to:

  • Back and Neck Pain
  • Stroke
  • Fractures
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Sports injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Fall Prevention

When an injury or illness occurs that limits your ability to move about safely or normally, a referral to a physical therapist may be made. Physical therapists work closely with patients, doctors, and family members to ensure safe and rapid return to maximal function.

Physical therapists can also help you prevent injury or loss of functional mobility. Your PT can analyze your movements before you are injured and offer strategies to help keep you healthy and moving well. Some physical therapists work with athletes to help keep them on the playing field and out of the rehab clinic and with senior citizens to help with balance and prevent falls, for example.

patient with wheelchair on the bike machine used with permission
Photo used with permission